Yesterday afternoon, when Max got out of school, both he and his younger brother Sam seemed pretty restless. There was still probably a good six plus inches of snow on the ground from that last snowstorm, but I felt like their need to run around was greater than my need to be done with snow.
Saying this probably shows how much of a Minnesotan I am, but yesterday really turned out to be the perfect day to go to the playground. Snow and all.
It was very sunny and much warmer than that picture would lead you to believe.
And the snow even served a purpose.
You see the playground closest to where we live is covered in gravel. Unfortunately Max can't really be trusted to leave the gravel alone. He'll start out rather harmlessly, just pouring through his fingers, but that very quickly can lead to throwing it and/or putting it in his mouth. And it's hard to redirect him. Almost impossible. But that lovely white blanket of snow did a great job of hiding all that tempting gravel so he could concentrate on the playground equipment.
Max and Sam started going down the slides. I only got a couple of picture of Max before my phone ran out of battery, which is a shame because of what happened later.
A couple of girls around aged 9 or 10 turned up, so they were around one or two years older than Max. They were watching him and giggling. Not in a 'boy that kid is weird' way but in a 'do you see that cute boy?' sorta way. I guess because Max is fairly tall for his age they didn't realize he was younger. Anyway, they kept their distance, and giggled. A lot.
At one point Max went to the swing set and sat down. The girls sat on the other end of the swing set and started swinging. Max watched them for a little bit, and then started swinging too.
I can't tell you how huge that was. I mean, Max has loved swings all his life, but has always relied on someone else to push him. Plus you have to be careful when you do it. Because of his loose grip he has a tendency to fall right off those things if you aren't careful.
He wasn't going very high or fast, but he got the swing going all by himself and kept it going! He was even holding onto the chains fairly well. He had this huge grin on his face. I wish I could have gotten a picture. He looked so pleased with himself.
The other thing is... I would almost swear he watched those girls, saw how they did it, and then did it himself. That's pretty good imitation for someone with autism, I think!
Soon Sam wanted to use the swings also. He still needs to be pushed, and as soon as I arrived on the scene the girls took off. It was kind of funny.
Getting back to my original point (if I indeed ever had one) Max is growing up.
He is learning and changing and growing like all kids do. Just because he isn't doing it in the typical ways or at the typical speed doesn't mean he isn't. And it doesn't mean he won't get there in the end.
Last year he learned to peddle a bike. This year it's swinging. Nobody can say what might be next.
*On the other hand I'm not going to think about how those girls were checking out my little boy, because I am so NOT ready for that!
ETA: We went back to the park the next day and Max headed right over to the swings. I didn't get a picture of his big smile. I tried but he kept looking away and then my phone died again. But you can see he has the motion down!
Let me tell you about this picture: I had forgotten all about picture day until right AFTER I put him on the bus. I had sent him off wearing both a knit cap and a faded shirt that was more than a little gnawed on. A laundry day kind of shirt. I hadn't even packed a hairbrush. Oh well, I thought, at least I can ask for re-takes.
But the picture turned out great. He doesn't have major hat hair. Even the shirt looks pretty good.
And really, who cares about anything else when you have that great smile to look at?
Here is a picture is of my younger brother Andrew sitting in a box. Or a very small cardboard car, depending on your point of view. I'm guessing this was taken sometime in 1988. I have very vivid memories of him sitting in a cardboard box in the living room singing Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams" only he changed the lyrics a little. In his version it went, "Get outta my head, Get outta my car!" over and over again. When informed of the real lyrics, he said his were better. I think he had a point.
And here, submitted as proof that the pastime that sitting in a box and pretending it is a car is timeless, is a picture of Sammy in a box taken on this very day! He was singing, "Blitzrieg Bop" by the Ramones. Or at least the, "Hey, ho, let's go!" part over and over again. When informed there were more lyrics, he didn't seem to care. He did stop to smile when I took his picture. That was nice of him.